By Martin Kelly

Stella Travel Services boss Keith Stanley has promised a dramatic overhaul of the travel giant’s retail web strategy.

It will start with the relaunch of the Harvey World Travel website over the next few days, followed by a new Travelscene site soon after.

“You will see dramatic changes over the next six months,” says Stanley, who will elaborate on the Stella strategy at the TRAVELtech conference in Sydney on August 28.

Stanley says that in addition to the new Harvey World and Travelscene brand portals, each Stella agency franchisee will have individual websites.

He says they’ll be able to customise these sites within brand guidelines and, in an ideal world, create their own niche or speciality markets, whether location or skills based.

These sub-sites will also feature consumer booking tools using technology developed by Stella’s online outfit, Best Flights, enabling them to sell everything from air and accommodation through to cruises.

Stanley says these initiatives will arm its franchisees with the ammunition they need to compete online, while giving agents a “vested interest” in developing their own web-based businesses.

There are still a number of issues being worked through, including online product inventory and distribution, where there are significant discrepancies between some of the Stella brands, especially in accommodation.

For example, the Harvey World site uses Octopus Travel, while Best Flights accesses inventory from a range of suppliers including Need It Now and World Hotels.

This is an obvious consequence of the rapid acquisition-led growth of Stella, which controls 1400 retail and corporate outlets across three main brands – Harvey World Travel, Travelscene and Gullivers – plus numerous other businesses.

• To find out more on Stella, you can attend TRAVELtech, where Keith Stanley will be interviewed by Director Martin Kelly.

Travel Trends: August 14, 2007

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